Alumni, staff rally support in Sacramento

By Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs

07 March 2001 | Members of the campus community took Berkeley’s message to the state capital on Tuesday, March 6, as part of UC Day in Sacramento. More than 30 alumni, employees and friends of Berkeley — and their counterparts from throughout the UC system — met with state legislators and their staffs to discuss campus priorities for the coming year.

“All the chancellors come, and the UC President,” said Michelle Barer Moskowitz, associate director of Berkeley’s Office of Government Affairs, who helped organize the campus delegation’s efforts. In all, more than 500 UC alumni, staff, students and faculty participated in this year’s UC Day, titled “On the Threshold of Opportunity.”

Moskowitz said UC Day is the one time each year when the 10 UC campuses join together to put the university’s case before legislators.

Points emphasized with legislators included full funding for UC in the 2001-02 state budget, the need for a four-year education bond on the 2002 election ballot, and funding for four new California Institutes for Science and Innovation — among them the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, to be based at Berkeley in partnership with the Santa Cruz, Davis and Merced campuses.

“We go with a number one purpose of supporting the university budget for the following year,” said Berkeley alumna Ivy Cohen, ’82, who has participated in UC Day in Sacramento for the past 10 years. “There are always meaty issues to address, which impact how the university budget will fare — will it grow or is it in jeopardy of being cut?”

Among this year’s “meaty issues,” Cohen cited compensation for university employees, infrastructure needs, seismic safety and making sure the university lives up to its promise of providing opportunity to Californians. “These are the issues raised in our appointments with individual legislators and in larger forums,” she said.

UC is seeking funding increases to support a 43 percent enrollment growth in the coming decade; a 4 percent increase to provide competitive salaries for faculty and staff; a 1 percent increase to fund critical needs such as deferred maintenance, instructional equipment, instructional technology and libraries; and support for summer instruction at Berkeley and two other campuses.

“You find that a lot of our state legislators are incredibly committed to the university,” noted Cohen, who this year lobbied the offices of Senate Majority Leader Richard Polanco, Sen. Liz Figueroa, Sen. Tom Torlakson and Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett. “Yet with the competitive demands on the state’s budget, you really feel that you’re making an important contribution, to make sure the university is as important on its agenda as possible.”


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